Fife Flyers slender hopes to squeezing into the end-of-season, Premier Sports Elite League play-offs were dealt a major blow when they were edged 4-2 at rivals Guildford Flames.
The Kirkcaldy club, who prop up the ten-strong table, led twice before a crowd of over 1,200 at the Guildford Spectrum but were pegged back after being heavily outshot by their hosts.
Fife remain on 31 points from 45 games with only nine remaining in their diary. Flames move onto 40 points from 44 outings and into seventh position with Coventry Blaze slipping to the eighth and final play-off slot with 38 points from 42 fixtures.
Ninth-placed Manchester Storm are on 36 points from 45 games.
Earlier, Michael McNicholas set up Greg Chase for Fife’s opener after ten minutes, but Flames hit back four minutes after that through John Dunbar.
But Fife came again and skipper Matthew Carter netted after good work from Craig Peacock and Jacob Benson. Time: 19min 55sec.
And Flyers held that slender advantage until the 34rd minute when Jamal Watson slotted on the power play with Jonas Emmerdahl in the sin bin for cross checking to bring the home side level at 2-2.
However, the pressure told after 51 minutes when Guildford went ahead for the first time. Levi Cable did the damage with Ian McNulty setting up the opportunity.
And Flames made sure with two seconds left. Fife coach Todd Dutiaume (pictured) gambled by withdrawing his netminder Shane Owen to have six skaters but it backfired with Watson netting his second of the night unassisted.